From £15,920
A reasonable car spoilt by an unyielding ride and a flawed cabin
20 January 2009

What is it?

This is the new Megane Coupe 2.0 TCe and, on the face of it, it’s a car that ticks all the right boxes.

Looks are important for any coupe and, while aesthetics are subjective, there’s no denying that the low, wide Renault Megane Coupe 2.0 TCe is striking. Under the bonnet is a 178bhp 2.0-litre motor with a twin-scroll turbocharger, an evolved, detuned version of the engine from the previous-generation R26 hot hatch.

And because this is a coupe and not a rakish family hatch, you can forgive the three-door Megane its cramped rear seats and poor visibility.

What’s it like?

Once you get beyond the looks and specification, the Renault Megane Coupe 2.0 TCe is not that brilliant.

The first disappointment is the cabin. The overall look and feel is fine; the problem is in niggling details. The digital speed read-out is a good idea, but is brashly executed. And the starter button is on the passenger side of the centre console on right-hand drive models – you have an awkward stretch around the gear lever to reach it. These are small details, but they are frustrating.

On the road the new engine is eager; with the turbo kicking in at 1200rpm and the full 222lb ft of torque available at 2250rpm, it ought to be. But the surging low-rev performance tails off further up the rev range, so the Renault Megane Coupe 2.0 TCe doesn’t quite live up to its low-rev promise.

The Megane Coupe handles reasonably well; it corners with plenty of grip and little body roll, and is eager to change direction. The only real black mark is a ride that, although better than a Laguna Coupe’s, never settles properly or smoothes out short-frequency undulations.

So should I buy one?

We can’t really recommend it. It’s not that the Renault Megane Coupe is a bad car. It does most things well, but it excels in no areas and annoys in a couple. Our advice? If you want a three-door coupe, spend a couple of grand more and go for a VW Scirocco.

Matt Rigby


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21 January 2009

Better looking than a Scirocco perhaps? But that is faint praise, also seems a lot of money for a car without an independant rear suspension system. So the starter button is on the left sie, have you noticed in the Twingo they have left the speedo in front of the passenger? Don't think Renault are really bothered about their cars, so why should we be?

21 January 2009

It would be interesting to run one as a long termer.

Are the idiosyncrasies or things like the speedo and starter button really that bad or are they just a healthy dose of character that is lacking from most modern cars?

21 January 2009

I get the feeling Autocar decided this car was sub Scirocco therefore not much good before they even unlocked it.

I have seen several Scirocco`s in varying colours on the road and i find the styling odd to say the least. No real defining character and totally at odds with the rest of the VW range. The original model was sharp and sexy.

Dont like the starter button on the Megane, buy a cheaper model probably wont have one. A digital speedo is a digital speedo...full stop,, not exactly a deal breaker.

I am not in the market to buy either of these cars but i do feel a little cheated by this review.

21 January 2009

Absolutely 230SL - the issue with the starter button is exactly the same as the speedo on the Twingo.

What I also chose not to mention was the placement of the clock on the right-hand side of the sat-nav screen - you can't see the final digit from the driver's seat (although this problem goes away on models without the integrated sat-nav).

Unfortunately, Teg, I really don't think this is a healthy dose of character, I think it's more symptomatic of a neglect of right-hand drive markets (though no doubt the fault of accountants and not engineers or designers).

You're right though, joinfortwo, none of that is a deal-breaker (even though all models have a starter button).

What is a deal-breaker is the fact that, while the Scirocco (styling aside - like I said that's entirely subjective) excels in pretty much every area, the Megane Coupe is no better than competent in most, and annoyingly flawed in a couple (particularly the ride).

The Megane isn't a bad car by any means, but it is some way off the class best.

21 January 2009

The Megane 3dr follows a long line of Renault Coupes in being a "party frock" version of the standard 5 dr hatchback. Its for those who want the style but dont need the hardware.

Its the properly hot versions that Renault truly excel at that will blow the opposition into the weeds, including the VW I suspect.

Also according to the price lists there is £3650 between prices of each base model (Renault V VW) before discount, and you just know Renault will be the biggest discounter here. A figure nobody can ignore at present.

Healthy debate....dont you just love it :)

21 January 2009

Thats a poor bit of design regarding the Start button particularly when theres a 12v socket on the other side, how hard could it have been to design a start button and 12v socket that were interchangeable for different markets, its like they didn't even try.

Still interested in the RS version though, especially if its as aggressive looking as the mockups.

Can't argue with the discounter comment, the missus car is a Renault and we got something like 6k off list, nothing could touch it for value and it doesn't seem that badly made or unreliable as I was expecting.

21 January 2009

No supprise there then Autocar, are VW slipping you something ? The Scirocco isn't as amazing as you suggest, its nice to drive but I fail to see where it excells, No car is free from design fault, only a few years ago we had to put up with Mercs and Audi's with the windscreen wipers sweeping the wrong way leaving a dirty area infront of the driver. Once again, I hope people don't take your comments (biased at that) too literally and go out and drive the Megane for themselves. I can see why Renault have tried to reinvent the dash, the display warns you if you exceed your preset speed, for my wife that would be brilliant.

Another nice car from Renault, and I've never been a fan of French cars.

21 January 2009

[quote Vanquish]No supprise there then Autocar, are VW slipping you something ? The Scirocco isn't as amazing as you suggest, its nice to drive but I fail to see where it excells, No car is free from design fault, only a few years ago we had to put up with Mercs and Audi's with the windscreen wipers sweeping the wrong way leaving a dirty area infront of the driver.[/quote]

Yes - a car that is demonstrably better than the Megane Coupe in most objective areas.

The Scirocco feels better screwed together, the (relatively) glacial depreciation curve offsets the greater initial outlay and, most important, the Scirocco is both more composed and way more involving than the Renault.

Oh, and Merc and Audi have realised the value of the small adjustments that make right-hand drive versions of cars ostensibly engineered for left-hand drive properly sorted. Why can't Renault do the same?

24 January 2009

A nice car.

26 January 2009

I absolutely do not agree with you Matt, but hey you're the proffessional. Very odd though how both in this thread and that of the Meg 5 door that the general consensus is that us 'real' if obviously rather ill informed customers think the Renault is worth consideration. If you guys want any manufacturers around at the end of this economic crisis perhaps you should be a little more supportive of their efforts rather than the dismissive attitude you take to anything withourt a Ford or VW badge of a 500 BHP engine...You are so out of touch. My company runs over twenty Focus's and they are ok, but they rattle, the seat backs are too narrow for most drivers, the dash is bland as are the looks (which dont offend either), we've had a Megane for the past week for assessment and so far all our Focus drivers prefer it, Its safe, comfortable, well equipped and good value. Your job is to be impartial but its always the same old, change the record Matt.

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